Experimentation spaces for regulatory learning

Staff Working Document by the European Commission: “..one of the actions of the New European Innovation Agenda sets out available experimentation tools (especially regulatory sandboxes, but also testbeds and living labs) and showcases existing examples from Europe and beyond on how the European Union and national governments can support and engage innovators in the regulatory process.

Experimentation is a key-component of innovation. European innovators are facing new challenges, also in terms of different or limited experimentation spaces and related regulations.

The Staff Working Document presents a general overview on these experimentation spaces and includes a special focus on the energy sector, in line with the RePowerEU Communication.

The New European Innovation Agenda, adopted on 5 July 2022, aims to position Europe at the forefront of the new wave of deep tech innovation and start-ups. It will help Europe to develop new technologies to address the most pressing societal challenges, and to bring them on the market. Europe wants to be the place where the best talent work hand in hand with the best companies and where deep tech innovation thrives and creates breakthrough innovative solutions across the continent.

One of the five flagships of the New European Innovation Agenda refers to “enabling deep tech innovation through experimentation spaces and public procurement. It includes this guidance document on experimentation spaces as one of the main deliverables, together with a revised state aid framework for Research and Development, experimentation facilities for AI innovation and the setting-up of an “Innovation Friendly Regulations Advisory Group” working on virtual worlds.  

Regulatory sandboxes are schemes that enable testing innovations in a controlled real world environment, that may include temporary loosening of applicable rules while safeguarding regulatory objectives such as safety and consumer protection.

Test beds are experimentation spaces with a technological focus that do not necessarily have a regulatory component.

Living labs are based on co-creation and on the experience and involvement of users and citizens…(More)”.